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Releasing the Truth Inside
Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go that really shows strength.
- Hermann Hesse
When Ms. Cometa told us to write a story for our freshmen year project, I decided to write about something extremely difficult and personal that happened to me when I was small. It was really hard at first, especially because Ms. Cometa had to report it to the Child Protective Services, but now I feel good about writing it and getting it all out.
That same night after I told Ms. Cometa, I went home and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. Around 10:30 p.m., someone knocked on the door.
My aunt shouted, “Who is it?”
Then, in a loud voice someone declared, “It’s the police! Open the door!”
As soon as I heard it was the cops, I felt so upset and I panicked. I said to myself, “I can’t believe this is happening! Maybe I never should have said anything! What if they take us away and put us in foster homes?!?”
My mind flashed back to when it all started. It was a hot summer and we had the windows open . It felt like we were inside an oven. I was 5 years old, with long wavy hair and I was curious, always talking and asking questions. My sister, Molly, had cute dimples in her cheeks when she smiled, but her smile started to fade away right then, when she was 7 years old. We lived in Los Angeles in the Pico Union area. We were enjoying our summer break, having fun and playing, but one day our vacation turned into a nightmare.
My dad and mom never knew what was really happening. When they would leave to go to work early each morning, they would leave our brother, Luis, in charge because he was the oldest. I wish they hadn’t trusted him so much because looking back, I can see that at such a young age, he robbed our innocence. Luis took advantage of me and my sister. He would come in our room early in the morning, after our parents left. He would start off tickling us, but then he would go further. He would molest us and scare us so we didn’t tell anyone.
I remember waking up every morning and seeing him in our bed. He would be touching us and holding onto one of us so we couldn’t get away. We would cry, but I didn’t know what to do. Many times, my younger brother, Jairo, tried to defend us, but he couldn’t. He was too small.
When my parents came home every day, Luis would act like nothing was wrong. Every day I would wake up with the terrifying feeling of what he might do next. This happened that entire summer. Almost everyday, he would come into our room and get us. We would try to hide in the bathroom, the only room with a lock, but he would pry it open.
We would try to escape from the apartment, but we couldn’t. There was only one exit and he would block us. We had nowhere to hide and nowhere to go. My mom thought he could take care of us because he was the oldest. She couldn’t find other people to take care of us, so Luis had to be there all the time. At times, I would ask God, “Why me?Why did this had to happen to me?”.
Dealing with it was hard because first of all, I was small and I did not know better. I didn’t know what he was doing, but I knew it was bad; I felt really uncomfortable and weird. This affected me because I used to pull my hair and hit myself because I felt dirty; I would wash my body a lot just thinking of him touching me. From then on, I felt scared of walking alone on the streets, thinking that they might do something to me like my brother did. My sister and I didn’t talk about it because I don’t think she wanted to remember, but I couldn’t forget about it.
One night, around 8:00 p.m., we were in the Pico-Union donut shop with my mom. It was . Molly, Jairo and I were looking at each other and we knew what we were thinking, “Should we tell her?”
We were all siting together at a table eating.
Molly said, “Mami, we need to tell you something.”
My mom asked, “Que paso?” (What happened?)
Then I whispered, “Don’t get mad though...”
Mom responded, “Okay, pero depende en lo que se trate.” (Yeah, but it depends on what it’s about.)
Then I mumbled, “When... you were at work,... umm...”
The my mom asked, “UMM QUE?” (WHAT?)she wondered, with a face showing that maybe we had done something tiribble.
“Luis touched us,” Molly whispered.
Mom questioned,“¿Como que las toco?.” (What do you mean touched you!)
I replied,“Well yeah our body, legs and...”
Immediately, her face turned red and she got really mad. She stayed silent. She asked for details of when, how, and what else happened. We told her everything nervously. We were worried that she would get mad at Luis and at us for not telling her sooner. We wondered if the police would come, or if Luis would get mad that we told. Afterwards, my mom talked to him privately.
Over time, things changed. He left us alone and stopped touching us. He would just give us angry faces and scary looks when we passed by his room. My mom took him to therapy so he could get some help. That’s when Luis started hanging out on the streets; my mom would go looking for him, crying softly. He would hang out with gangs and he even went to jail. When he came back home from jail after a month, I was 7 years old and he was about 15.
He asked with a smile on his face, “Remember what I used to do to you?”
Right away, I told him, “Stop or I’m going to tell Mom!” He stayed quiet. Luckily, this was the last time he ever reminded me of it...
Suddenly, It was 9th grade again and I was back in the entrance to our house with the cops asking us questions.
They told my dad, “We’re here because your daughter said she was molested by her brother.”
I got scared because my dad was going to find out for the first time. They were asking my mom why she didn’t do something about it; they were blaming her. I Thought they were going to take us away. I Thought they were going to take Luis away and that would mean that my nieces(Luis’s daughters) wouldn’t have a dad, and this isn’t their fault, they need a dad. They made everyone go in separate rooms.
They asked me questions just like my mom did that first day we told her. Luis admitted everything that he had done and he said that he didn’t know any better then because he was just a kid. The cops that came to our house that night were the same cops that arrested him before. Since it happened just before Christmas, they didn’t want to separate the family, but they were still investigating us.
After the cops and social workers left, I got mad because the teacher made a report to the police. I know she would have gotten in trouble with the school or the police if she didn’t report it, and her job would be at risk.
I had to deal with the cops and the social workers coming. I just wanted to be left alone. They asked too many questions.
I kept thinking, “I just want this to end!”
The police officers, detectives, and social workers came to my house at least six more times, always asking the same questions, “Did he put his penis in your vagina?”
I kept saying “no” all the time, but they kept on asking. I felt sick and tired, but the best thing for me to do was just go along with it and answer the same questions over and over again. I had no other choice but to be strong.
Now, at home it’s the same as before the cops came. Luis is usually always working anyways. It’s back to normal. My dad is more protective of us now. My mom is still worried of what might happen to Luis, if they might take him.
Now, I’m 14 years old and Molly is 17 years old and Jairo is 16 years old. We have no fear of Luis anymore. He’s a grown man now with a two little girls and a job. I finally got it all out and now I feel released. It’s not on my mind anymore. I can focus more on school. Even though it might be hard to speak up, it’s better to let things out before it gets worse. I wish that I would’ve spoken up earlier because it wouldn’t have gotten this bad and I would have moved on earlier. I spent years feeling angry at everything, at my brother, at everybody. I acted serious and quiet. The only time I would be loud was with Jairo because he made me feel comfortable and he always made me laugh. Now, I feel more comfortable and more like myself.
Molly and Jairo told me it was good that I was the brave one to write this story. When the cops were there, I felt like it was all my fault, but they made me feel like it needed to happen. It was a good thing that I told the story. I learned to speak up and be brave and keep my head up. I know that there are many other girls going though the same thing I went through.